@221beatriz
bibi waits

a constellation of thoughts

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2020-04-04 01:04:31

    hades isn’t a badass. hades named his three-headed-guard-of-the-underworld-dog spot. hades whispers to his flowers to make them grow. hades grows fruit. there’s no sun in the underworld.

    hades isn’t a badass. stop saying this false thing

    In myth, Hades’ most remarked upon traits are 1) how responsible/reliable he is, 2) how sober-minded he is, 3) how dedicated, implacable, and long-remembering he is, and 4) how boring and grim most of the other Olympians think he is to be around. Oh and notably, that if you play him a song he likes, he’ll basically give you anything you ask for (though not without conditions.)

    Hades is, canonically, a gigantic nerd. If they’d had train sets, he’d have been the Olympian who collected train sets, meticulously corrected with exacto knife and hobby-paints the errors toy-makers introduced to those train sets, and then endlessly talked about those train sets to anyone sat next to him at thanksgiving dinner (when he wasn’t trying to rope them into an interminable discussion about gardening or divine law, that is.)

    He’s the sort of god who frequently handed out punishment like giving someone a million-piece puzzle where every piece is shaped the same, that resets itself at the start of every day if you don’t complete it, and then he keeps the last piece on his person at all times as a secret private joke for eternity because he finds you personally distasteful (not even because he’s mad at you or hates you particularly; he just doesn’t like you as a person)

    He is. A. Gigantic. Nerd.

    He’s also like one of the only gods who is faithful to his wife. And he listens to her like when she asks for a soul to be released and he’s like “But honey, the rules.” And she just gives him that look and he goes “Yes dear,” and lets the soul go with the easiest freaking instructions ever in a myth. And the human still fucks it up. Not his fault Persephone, not Hades’ fault this time.

    Essentially, Hades is sorta like the accountant suburban dad who collects really specific figurines and gets really grumpy when people mess up his lawn. Do you know how hard his wife worked on those roses? He is calling his attorney. Oh wait, he is also an attorney.   

    anonllama you’ve probably seen this before but oh well~

    Of Chronos’s sons, I always felt like Hades was probably the least ignoble. Modern portrayals of him as being synonymous with the devil are ignorant and prejudiced–and probably somehow the Victorians’ fault.

    char-portraits

    Aww, those poor Victorians get blamed for everything. :)

    Hades/Pluto has been conflated with the christian Devil/Satan/Lucifer since late antiquity. It’s very common to turn an old god into a demon so that the new god can take over, and the distinction between ruler of Hades and ruler of Hell is soon lost. This goes on through the Middle Ages, with Hades taking aspects of the Devil and vice versa. In the Divine Comedy, Pluto presides over the 4th Circle of Hell.

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    The nuance of the original myth resurfaces during the Renaissance and later Romanticism (early Victorians included), with the rediscovery and idealization of all things Greco-Roman. The myth of Orpheus and Eurydice becomes wildly popular, and Hades stops looking like a bad copy of Satan. However, he’s still associated with death (duh), and therefore the macabre (“the Night’s Plutonian shore” and all that).

    (Meanwhile, it was another maligned deity that was vilified by Christianity, idealized by classicism, and then sent back to hell by the Victorians: Pan. Arthur Machen wrote The Great God Pan” in 1890, identifying him with the Devil himself. Of course, in all likelihood, Pan and similar deities were the reason why the devil got horns and cloven hooves in Christian folklore in the first place.)

    But Hades wasn’t out of the frying pan yet. In the 20th century, new mass media would draw extensively from Greco-Roman mythology. Unfortunately, its nuances were utterly lost in the Heroes Vs Villains structure. In 1926, the Italian film “Maciste all'inferno” would feature a very old trope: the Underworld is Hell, and Pluto is the Devil.

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    In 1969, the hilarious “Hercules in New York” (Schwarzenegger’s first appearance) features Pluto as one of the villains. The trend continues all the way to Disney’s “Hercules”, “Xena”, and “Clash of the Titans”. Basically, unless it’s an ambitious Orpheus adaptation, whenever Hades appears on film or television, he’s the Bad Guy ™.

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    Superhero comics had a similarly slanted approach. Marvel’s Pluto is introduced in 1966 as a scheming supervillain who wants to overthrow Zeus. And DC’s Hades in the “Justice League” TV series is yet again portrayed as the devil, goatee and everything.

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    The last dishonorable mention goes to Dungeons & Dragons. In “Deities & Demigods”, the Greek pantheon gets stats and alignment entries, and Hades is Neutral Evil. D&D settings are traditionally based on the concept of opposing cosmic forces, so poor Hades gets stuck with the Evil part.

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    …And that’s exactly how Greek mythology does NOT work.

    Hades, this much maligned chthonic deity, Lord of the Underworld or Persephone’s (the actual ruler’s) Consort, is depicted carrying a scepter, grains and seeds and flowers, a horn of plenty. Not a bloody pitchfork. He is feared, to the extent that humans fear death, but he’s also admired as a wise and just ruler, respected for preserving the natural order, and worshipped for his fertility aspect.

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    To understand him we must first understand his realm, and how it was perceived. Hades, the underworld, is nothing like hell. While eternal punishment/reward exists, it is reserved for exceptionally vile or virtuous mythical figures, it’s not the afterlife anyone fears or aspires to. Unlike the Christian Hell, the prospect of Tartarus is never used as a cudgel to scare people into conforming with the divine law.

    Hades is where the Shades of the dead reside. It’s a grim and bleak place, as death is the antithesis of life: no joy, no desire, no memory, no purpose. And no torment, either. There’s nothing deliberately mean about it, and it’s the great equalizer. It sucks for Achilles just as it sucks for the lowliest peasant. In fact, Achilles’s shade in the Odyssey declares he would much rather be a humble servant above ground than king of kings among the dead.

    Essentially, Hades is a cosmic reminder that this life, here on earth, is all we really have. It’s an incentive to cherish life, an imperative to embrace it fully and love it passionately. In a strange way, the greatest gift of the god of death is an uncompromising lust for life. Because it ends.

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    Reblogging for Lawful Neutral Hades.

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